The findings, reported in the latest Women in Hospitality Travel & Leisure 2020 Review, showed that 32% of senior positions are now occupied by women, up from 29% on the previous year.
Improvements had also been made in FTSE 250 companies with 22% of board level roles held by women, compared to 20% the year before, although this figure remained below the cross-sector average of 25%.
The analysis was based on interviews with 120 companies and assessed the progress that had been made since gender pay reporting became mandatory for firms with over 250 employees in 2017.
It also cited “encouraging progress” in the area of female non-executive directors (NEDs). Across the FTSE 350, 40% of NEDs are women and the number who are direct reports across the whole sector has reached 36%.
Despite these improvements, the report suggested that work still needed to be done to meet the 33% target of female representation across boards and executive committees by 2020, set by the Hampton-Alexander review.
The research also revealed that the number of people from a black and ethnic minority background is “vastly underrepresented” in the sector, with just one in 33 leaders (combined board, executive committee and direct report) in the industry identifying as BAME.
The UK government launched a consultation on mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting in October 2018.
“Overall there has been encouraging progress across the sector, but there is still much work to do to increase the number of senior women and people from other diverse backgrounds," says Jon Terry, diversity and inclusion consulting leader at PwC, which supported the report.
"A focus on ensuring that everyone has equal opportunities to progress and for firms across the sector to better reflect their customers, brings benefits to business as well as to society.”